Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBT+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Cancer Anniversary

This entry is part 37 of 44 in the series Breast Cancer Posts

August 6th marked the first anniversary of my discovery of the cancerous tumor I underwent treatment for this past year. Not surprisingly, I remember the discovery of the lump down to the half hour: between one and one thirty in the morning while I was in bed.

I have mixed feelings on the past year. To be honest, after I learned it was cancer, I was kind of meh. Shocked. Throughout most of my treatment, to be honest. I just did what I needed to. Not sure exactly where on the “Oh, no, it’s cancer!” spectrum I am now. Parts of it seem a little surreal now when I think about them. Other things I remember with sharp clarity.

Today after my shower, I looked at my scars. The one under my arm is a nice healthy color, just a bit pink, and well-healed. I was worried about it for a while. It didn’t seem to heal completely until after the radiation treatments and had a bruised/purplish look to it until a couple months ago. I didn’t start putting my antiperspirant on my right underarm until May because I was afraid it would somehow affect the scar. I experience no pain from this scar now, though occasionally I’ll have phantom sensations in the numb area beneath my arm, and I have to be careful when I shave so I don’t cause abrasions since I can’t tell if I’m giving myself razor burn, never mind an injury.

My breast scar has been in good condition for about six months or so. It healed up very well, I think because air wasn’t restricted from it. It’s very faintly pink/purplish, and I can’t feel scar tissue beneath it any more, which is probably an indication that the stitches there have been absorbed. This scar has no pain either, and my right nipple seems to have recovered, though the areola is light brown instead of the same rosy pink as the nipple and areola on my left breast.

The portacath scar is the best looking of the lot. It’s visible when I wear my tank tops for square dancing and isn’t even vaguely pinkish any more. Aside from a little pockmark-like spot at one end, it’s almost completely gone. I’m no longer afraid of the weight of my right breast pulling this scar open, and I was really afraid of that for a few months.

A portion of my right upper arm is still numb from the nerve cut the doctor made to reach my lymph nodes in the surgery to remove the cancer. I’m not getting as many phantom sensations from the location as I used to. Every so often, I’ll itch around the edges of the numb area, but in a spot where scratching actually gets rid of the annoyance.

My hair has all grown back. It’s about 1-2 inches long now and curlier than it was before, though this is evident only after a fresh washing. Day after wash, it’s unruly and won’t do what I want it to, so I’ve resigned myself to near-constant bad hair days. LOL

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1 Comment

  1. One year! Wow.

    Thanks for the continuing descriptions.

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